Questions to Ask When Buying a Puppy from a Breeder

As part of your research before buying a puppy, it’s important to ask the breeder plenty of questions. The aim of your questioning is to check that the puppies have been bred in a safe, clean place and that both mother and pups are well cared for. This will help ensure that you’re not unwittingly supporting cruel breeding practices like puppy farms, and that you take home a healthy, happy pup.

Puppies are famously hard to resist, so we recommend asking the breeder as many questions as possible over the phone before you go to see them. This will help ensure your judgement isn’t clouded by those puppy dog eyes!

A responsible breeder will be happy to answer any questions you have, so don’t be afraid to ask plenty!

Questions to Ask a Dog Breeder

Here’s a list of questions you should try to ask the dog breeder before you agree to adopt a puppy from them.

Did you breed the puppies yourself?

Only ever buy puppies directly from the breeder. Otherwise you risk buying one that has come from a puppy farm or other disreputable breeding operation.

How many puppies are there?

It’s a good idea to ask this question again when you visit to make sure you get the same answer.

How old are the puppies?

You’ll usually want to visit the puppies at around 4 weeks old. However they shouldn’t be sold until they are 8 weeks old.

Can I see the puppy with their mum?

If the answer to this question is no, or any excuses are made, do not buy the puppy. You should always be able to see puppies with their mum, in the place they were bred.

How old is the mum and how many litters has she had before?

Dogs must be a minimum of a year old before they are bred, and no older than 8. The mum should also not have more than four litters in her lifetime, including this one.

Which vaccinations and other treatments has the puppy received so far?

Puppies should have started their worming treatment before you take them home. Ideally, they will also have had their initial vaccinations, but not all breeders will have done this. Find out when their vaccinations are due.

The puppy’s mum should also have been wormed while pregnant to ensure health of the pups when they are born and while suckling.

What social experiences have the puppies had so far?

Puppies should be regularly in contact with people and ideally other adult dogs to ensure they are well socialised. When visiting the puppy it is a good idea to have a look at the conditions they were raised in. Some environments, particularly family homes, can be helpful in providing well-rounded socialisation and exposure to every day noises and activities such as traffic.

Is the puppy microchipped?

It is a legal requirement for breeders to get their puppies chipped and register their own details before they sell. Once you have bought the puppy, you should then update the microchip details to your own.

Have the puppy’s mum and dad been screened for inherited conditions?

Depending on the breed of dog you have chosen, there may be certain conditions that your puppy will be at a higher risk of. The Kennel Club offers health screening schemes for breeders to help them reduce the incidences of health problems in future generations. In addition, the Assured Breeders Scheme helps prospective puppy buyers to find breeders that follow best breeding practices.

Will I receive any written advice before taking the puppy home?

Responsible dog breeders will provide you with information on things like feeding, worming, vaccinations and training. They should also give you a few day’s worth of the food they are currently feeding the puppy.

Wrapping Up

Once you’re happy with the answers the breeder has given, it’s time to visit the puppy! Read our blog on the tell-tale red flags to look out for when picking out a puppy so that you’re well-prepared. And while you’re visiting, don’t be afraid to follow up on any of the questions you’ve already asked the breeder.

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